Get Involved Cherry Trees Blog UNFORGIVING, ROCKY AND EXHAUSTING - 24 PEAKS IN 24 HOURS CHALLENGE Raising money for the wonderful Cherry Trees was a big motivator for us all. We all love a challenge and with the chance to experience the breath-taking views of the Lake District it was all we needed to put our names down. Two to three times a week we would be out training on a very steep cross country walk in the Surrey Hills where our office is based. Lunch times and early mornings we would often be out trekking, sometimes putting in 2 hours training before work. The night before sleep was non-existent as everyone was so nervous and excited. The trek itself was split into two 12 hour days with the first day taking on 11 peaks including Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain. The second day would tackle the remaining 13 peaks including the famous Helvellyn Mountain. Day one had forecast clear blue skies, sunshine and 22 degrees. Day two had forecast thunderstorms, high winds and heavy rain… Eager and ready to go the team set off to the base of Red Pike, the first peak. With the first part of the climb underway the team were feeling confident until approximately 2000ft up Mother Nature decided to play her part. With only 500ft left to climb the team were met with 65-70mph gusts which made it almost impossible to move never mind continue climbing. Team members were literally blown off the side of the mountain with climbers huddling together in order to continue their ascent. Loose rock and stone being picked up by battering winds hit the team as they made their way up the face of the mountain. Through sheer determination the team made it to the top and found shelter by virtue of a small rock wall. It was at this point the mountain guide who was trained in mountain rescue confirmed it would be impossible to continue and the only option due to the dangerously high winds was to descend back down and find an alternate route. The team duly descended the 2500ft and began a 5-mile trek to the base of a valley where they were once again faced with another gruelling 2500ft ascent to get back on track. Taking in Brandreth Peak and Green Gable the team reached 2600ft as the high winds and hot sun began to take its toll. The team would split at this point and a 3-man team went on to tackle Great Gable, Great End, Esk Pike and Bowfell Mountain reaching 3000ft before heading for home with light fading. The total distance trekked on day one should have been 30km. The team trekked 27 miles covering 9 grueling peaks. That night we all needed our sleep as the elements really took their toll. The high winds and hot sun made day one extremely tough, everyone was aching and it really hit home how hard this challenge was. The sun might be shining, but after hours of gales, loose rocks and a five mile detour, this walk was no picnic. Image copyright Russell Kyle. DAY TWO With day two in their sights the 3-man team took on the remaining 15 peaks with grit and determination. The team of 7 also dug deep to take on 10 peaks including Helvellyn which stood at 3117ft. Early into the first peak the predicted weather front came in with a vengeance. High winds coupled with torrential horizontal rain battered both teams as they literally trudged their way across the peaks. Red Screes Mountain took the 3-man team up 2500ft on their initial ascent before making their way to Dollywaggon Pike sitting at 2815ft. The team of 7 who already conquered Dollywaggon made their way to Helvellyn which they dispatched before heading off the mountain and making their descent. 10 peaks done on the day and 16 in total. An amazing effort under such harsh conditions. The 3-man team tackled Helvellyn before swiftly dispatching Lower Man, Whiteside and Raise. The weather eased and cleared to show the path home. Stybarrow, Watson Dodd and Great Dodd were the final peaks completed which made 14 peaks done on the day and 23 in total. Both teams although disappointed not to have completed the 24 peaks, showed great mental and physical strength through adversity. A challenge that started out as climbing mountains became more about battling the elements and finding a way through. The Lake District is an awe-inspiring place, you can’t really describe it and no photograph will ever do it justice. This was a really really tough challenge and to see my colleagues keep going and not giving up was a big highlight for me. The elements really did try to beat us down but through sheer mental strength everyone kept going, kept finding a way through and it really was a team effort. Don’t underestimate the 24 Peaks and never take weather reports for granted! Team spirit pushed Martin Grant Homes 'Peaky Hikers' up, over and on across 23 of the 24 Peaks. A huge achievement in the elements chucked at them! Image copyright Russell Kyle. Report and images gratefully compiled and taken by Russell Kyle. ************************************************************************************************************ Inspired by Kyle and his work colleagues at Martin Grant Homes ? It was more than a walk in some lovely countryside, it was hard. Really hard and they took this huge challenge on because they wanted to and came away from the Lakes in awe of nature's strength, the team spirit they found in each other and discovering a different level in challenge fundraising. They also raised nearly £6,000 - for us. Could you get your work place to sign-up to a challenge which will be a life experience you won't forget ? Call Fundraising on 01483 222 507 to discuss your idea and to also ensure you have the fundraising tools at your finger tips to raise money.